Politico: Fight will now focus on 120-day refugee moratorium
Posted by Ann Corcoran on March 7, 2017
Since the Trump Administration retooled the so-called ‘travel ban’ to take away some of the objections of the Open Borders lawyers and threw out the earlier version of the ban that had been blocked by the courts, Politico is reporting that the pro-refugee industry groups will now focus on the 120-day refugee moratorium.
My personal view is that they don’t have a legal leg to stand on since the President, under the Refugee Act of 1980, has authority to set the number for each fiscal year. Trump did that with his 50,000 ceiling in the new Executive Order. He has NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to reach the ceiling.
As of this morning we are at 37,323 for FY17, 2,193 short of President George W. Bush’s lowest year of 39,554 (Bush had 4 years under 50,000).
Before I get to more on the moratorium and what Politico is reporting, know that the new EO did remove any language that would prioritize entry to the US of religious minorities (like Christians from the Middle East).
So, please return to my discussion of the Lautenberg Amendment (supported by the refugee contractors over the years!) that prioritizes Jews from Russia and religious minorities (non-Muslims) from Iran. In light of the earlier Ninth Circuit court decision (no religious test permitted!), and Trump’s removal of a religious preference from the earlier EO, will Congress move to REPEAL the Lautenberg Amendment?
Don’t hold your breath!
Here (and below) are some of the key provisions of the new Executive Order regarding the US Refugee Admissions Program.
I believe the 120 days begins on March 16th, the effective date of the order, which means it will end sometime during the week of July 10th. (More on that in my next post.)
Sec. 6. Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017. (a) The Secretary of State shall suspend travel of refugees into the United States under the USRAP, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall suspend decisions on applications for refugee status, for 120 days after the effective date of this order, subject to waivers pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. During the 120-day period, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall review the USRAP application and adjudication processes to determine what additional procedures should be used to ensure that individuals seeking admission as refugees do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures. The suspension described in this subsection shall not apply to refugee applicants who, before the effective date of this order, have been formally scheduled for transit by the Department of State. The Secretary of State shall resume travel of refugees into the United States under the USRAP 120 days after the effective date of this order, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall resume making decisions on applications for refugee status only for stateless persons and nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that the additional procedures implemented pursuant to this subsection are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.
(b) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any entries in excess of that number until such time as I determine that additional entries would be in the national interest.
I don’t believe that the President had to give any reason for setting the ceiling at 50,000.
For all of you working in your communities and in your state legislatures to assure more transparency in the resettlement process, please focus on this section. We must hold the Administration’s feet to the fire. Everyone who has a Republican legislature looking to have more input, make sure that those legislators reach out to the US State Department!
(d) It is the policy of the executive branch that, to the extent permitted by law and as practicable, State and local jurisdictions be granted a role in the process of determining the placement or settlement in their jurisdictions of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. To that end, the Secretary of State shall examine existing law to determine the extent to which, consistent with applicable law, State and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and shall devise a proposal to lawfully promote such involvement.
So, finally this is what Politico said late last evening:
President Donald Trump’s second stab at a travel ban executive order will redraw the battle lines in the legal war his first order set off about a month ago, turning the focus to a small number of lawsuits aimed at the new order’s continued moratorium on refugees entering the U.S.
So far, most of the media attention has been devoted to early lawsuits in Boston, New York, Seattle and Alexandria, Virginia, that focused mainly on the initial travel ban’s impact on green card holders and visa holders. Now, with the revised order leaving in place a 120-day halt to admission of refugees, other suits may get their moment in the spotlight, such as one filed in Greenbelt, Maryland, last month by refugee aid groups.
Becca Heller of the International Refugee Assistance Project said her group plans to ask the judge to block Trump’s new order before it is set to take effect next Thursday.
“We’ll be amending our complaint and seeking emergency relief,” Heller said. “To me, not much has changed. It’s nice that people with visas get to keep their visas … This is just an indication of why we need multiple legal challenges.”
Moves to block Trump’s new order are likely to play out in courts across the country over the next 10 days, before the new order kicks in.
She must be referring to this lawsuit we mentioned here where I said this:
….their complaints seem to center around the idea that they were promised so many refugees (paying clients) this fiscal year and now they might not get them.
Looking for something to do today? Find out more about the International Refugee Assistance Project and who funds them!
This post is filed in my Trump Watch! category where 57 posts are related to this topic—reform of the refugee program under the Trump Administration.